Local News

A New Fleet of River Walk Barges Float Into San Antonio

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Tony Maples Photography


The San Antonio River Walk recently announced the maiden voyage of their new fleet of electric River Walk barges. The boats come in a variety of bright colors and each has different punched aluminum side panels. The panel designs range from the missions to a decorative “300,” for the city’s Tricentennial next year.

Big Plans for the New and Improved Boats

River Walk Barges

Photo: Facebook/Go Rio Cruises

Each tour boat can fit about 40 passengers. The tables on the dining barges can be adjusted to fit between two and 18 people. GO RIO (the local company in charge of the operation of the barges) will begin with 26 boats, though it hopes to have all 44 boats ready by December 1. They will start with the tour, dining and taxi services with some specialty cruises in the plans for sometime after the New Year. “We’re going to be also doing some yoga float boats early in the morning for those sporting enthusiasts, as well as some cycling classes,” said Lisa Wong, GO RIO’s president.

Robert H.H. Hugman: The Visionary Behind the River Walk

River Walk barges

Photo: Facebook/Go Rio Cruises

In 1929, San Antonio architect Robert H.H. Hugman developed plans for the river area including stone walkways, bridges, staircases and the vision of retail development, all of which became the San Antonio River Walk. The San Antonio River Walk is a network of walkways along the banks of the San Antonio River, one story beneath the streets of San Antonio. Lined by bars, shops, restaurants, nature, and public art, the River Walk is an important part of the city’s urban fabric and a tourist attraction in its own right.

Ernie Pyle once described the River Walk as “The American Venice” and it’s easy to see why. If you tried to imagine a place where the sights, sounds, and flavors of Native America, Old Mexico, and the Wild West blend effortlessly with the hustle and bustle of a modern city, it would probably look a lot like the San Antonio River Walk.

The River Walk is a successful special-case pedestrian street, one level down from the automobile street. The River Walk winds and loops under bridges as two parallel sidewalks lined with restaurants and shops, connecting the major tourist draws. During the annual springtime Fiesta San Antonio, the River Parade features flowery floats that float down the river.